Wednesday, November 22, 2017
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Data shows that 20% of Timorese companies producing bottled water do not meet international standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

20% of local companies producing potable water do not meet international standards set by the World Health Organisation.The National Laboratory’s Director for Toxicology, Water Analysis and Environmental Services, Pedro Almeida da Silva, said there are currently 70 companies producing purified water in the country, of which 80% are meeting proper standards.

He said the data was based on monthly water samples provided by companies for testing.

He said the large water bottles were often contaminated by bacteria because they weren’t sterilized properly, while chemicals used to treat the water were not based on the correct dose and therefore the water tasted bitter and smelled bad.

He was also concerned that consumers still lacked knowledge about the quality of local bottled water products.

He therefore, he called on consumers to be cautious when buying bottled water as poor quality products could impact on people’s health and cause diarrhea.

In a recent incident at the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, employees questioned the quality of water products being because provided at the office after a number of staff experienced diarrhea symptoms.

A sample later tested by the laboratory team identified that there was bacteria present which caused diarrhea.

After being informed the company in question made improvements to their production process and subsequent sample tests were bacteria free.

He said issues like this occurred as factory workers lacked proper knowledge.

Meanwhile, national MP Leonel Marçal said almost everyone consumed treated water as it was not safe to drink directly from the tap.

He said the government had an obligation to control water products on the market and should temporarily suspend companies that failed to meet proper standards.

“We see that almost all people in the country, especially in Dili, do not consume water from a natural source, but everyone consumes water from the factory. Of course, they are using chemicals and if we don’t have good controls then this will affect people’s lives,” he said.

He said Timor-Leste already had consumer protection laws in place and therefore encouraged anyone that purchased poor quality water to make an official complaint.

“If they (companies) break the law they should be closed, so they don’t bring disease and death to others,” he said.

 

He also called on the competent bodies to process companies that sold contaminated food and water according to the law as it was crime and affected people’s lives.

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